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Market Analysis of Kalonji

This paper investigates the current state of the international kalonji market and explores the market opportunities for Australian kalonji producers. It provides a baseline assessment of the global industry, using the limited information currently available, and identifies areas for further research to address gaps in market information. The study used secondary data sourced from credible databases including the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Trade Organization (WTO), United Nations International Trade Statistics Database (UN ComTrade) and the World Bank. Kalonji (Nigella sativa L.) is a small herb which is also commonly known as black cumin, black seed or Nigella. Kalonji is indigenous to Egypt and India and is currently produced in different parts of the world including Southern Europe, Western Asia and North Africa. Kalonji seeds are used as a spice in both whole and grounded form. Kalonji oil extract has a long history for its medicinal and health food uses and is widely used in various value-added products e.g. skin-care products, for pickling or for flavouring foods from curries to cookies. India, Pakistan, Syria, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bangladesh are the major kalonji producers, however, comparative production data is not available in open-access online sources. Only data for Turkey has been sourced which shows that in 2018 it produced about 3,300 tonnes of kalonji with an average yield of 980kg/hectare. Global trade data for kalonji is also not available in the literature. However, one market insight report estimated that by 2025, the kalonji oil market will be worth US$25 million per annum in the United States of America. Similar reports also predicted the future growth of kalonji in different European countries. According to the limited available literature, the international trading price of Indian kalonji seeds ranges from US$2,258/tonne to US$2,750/tonne while the value of Egyptian kalonji seeds is US$2,900/tonne. Kalonji seed is sown in early spring in the temperate zones and during the winter in tropical environments. Optimal conditions for planting are an ambient temperature range of 5 to 8 °C and 60% soil moisture. The suitability of Australian conditions for kalonji production will be tested through the CRC for Developing Northern Australia ‘Spicing Up the North’ project. Pending proof of its suitability to Australian environments, its possible fit in Australian farming systems, future research will be required to understand the entire value chain, including investigating value-adding opportunities for health and medicinal products.


Category 4 - CRC Research Income


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Central Queensland University

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Peer Reviewed

  • Yes

Open Access

  • Yes

Author Research Institute

  • Institute for Future Farming Systems

Era Eligible

  • Yes

Parent Title

A.2.181045 - Spicing up Northern Australia with high-value condiment crops